Battle of the Castles: Bohemia vs. Bavaria

Would you rather walk along ancient stones and fortifications or admire a castle so enchanting, it inspired a fairy tale?

There is no fair comparison between Karlstejn Castle in the Czech Republic and Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Although they are no match in size, style, or history, both of these castles are easily accessible from main cities for a reasonable price.

So whether you’re visiting Prague or Munich, spend a day outside of town and visit these monumental structures.

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Bohemia’s Karlstejn Castle

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History: This Gothic style castle dates back to 1348 AD. It was built by king of Bohemia, Charles IV, with the purpose of housing the Crown Jewels and royal treasures. The fortification underwent several sieges and reconstructions, which shaped the Renaissance and Purist features of today’s structure. .

Tour price: $30 – $40 per person

Trip details: The half-day trip from Prague included transportation to the castle (about an hour) in a van with no more than 10 group members. Traveling with a small group usually means you will get a more intimate tour experience, where you don’t need to push your way around the castle to fit into each room. 

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The view: Unlike King Ludwig’s fantasy castle, this castle was actually designed as a military stronghold and seat of local government that takes its fortifications more seriously. Located on a steep hill overlooking the town below in the valley, the site offered an incredibly long-range view of any invading force.

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Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle

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History: Neuschwanstein was the creation of king of Bavaria, Ludwig II, also known as “the mad king.” It was one of many castles he commissioned during his reign, and was built as a personal retreat as well as a tribute to Richard Wagner. It is also said to have been the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Tour price: $50-$60 per person (entrance fee to castle not included)

Trip details: The tour price was a bit more since it included a full-day adventure to not only Neuschwanstein, but also Linderhof palace and the charming town of Oberammergau. The trip took place via coach bus, a large double-decker with bathrooms included. The only downside is the size of the group, which was anywhere from 40-50 people.

The view: King Ludwig chose the best site for his castle by far. The views from Neuschwanstein are out of this world. It feels very unreal, which is fitting. The very idea of the castle itself was an escape from politics and the reality of the demands of monarchy upon the king, who really just wanted to live quietly in his castle and submerge himself into a fantasy world.

Which castle would you rather visit?

You can book your own day trip to Karlstejn from Prague or to Neuschwanstein from Munich.

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